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fishing may be the most underrated winter sport of all time. While it may not
be as popular as skiing or sledding, it can be just as thrilling. No, really.
Imagine sitting on a pristine, snow-covered lake with a few friends and tossing
a line down through the ice. After an hour or so, you get a bite. To your
surprise and utter astonishment, you put up the fight of your life and haul out
a massive 20-pound walleye.
that scenario sounds like fun, ice fishing may be right up your alley. However,
this sport can also be dangerous — you are on ice, of course. Before you step
foot on a frozen lake and drill a fishing hole, you must take proper
precautions if you want to survive.
year, four to five
North Americans die out on the ice while fishing. These casualties are usually the result
of thin ice mixed with too much alcohol. Keeping a level head and an eye on the
ice should be your top priority to stay alive. Generally, 4 inches is safe
enough to walk on and drill a fishing hole through, and 8-12 inches of ice is
strong enough to bear the weight of your car.
safe also entails knowing what to do if you or someone with you were to break
through the ice. If you fall in, move to the edge of the ice and pull yourself
out using a sharp object like an ice pick. Once out, roll at least 6 feet away
before standing up. If your buddy falls in, lie on your stomach and extend a
tree branch, rope or your belt, and then pull them to safety.
huge component of staying safe is wearing the right clothes. Regardless of
where you go fishing, it’s going to be cold. To keep warm, you’re going to have
to layer on the winter attire — long underwear and all. The best base
layer will wick away moisture from your skin. Avoid cotton, as it tends to soak
up moisture, and opt for polyester
instead. Wear wool as a second layer. This fabric is a great insulator as long
as you don’t get wet.
your outer layer, put on a coat that can block out the wind and keep you dry in
case of a snowstorm. The shell should be breathable but resilient. Although a
bit rigid, Gore-Tex fabric will do a great job of keeping you dry and warm by
allowing your perspiration to evaporate and repelling water on the outside.
While it may be a bit pricier, at least you’ll have a coat you can depend on,
in both good and bad weather.
Build a Shelter
if you have the warmest gear, sitting out there on the ice for hours at a time
can take a toll on your body. Building or finding a decent shelter is key. You
can make one from
steel if you plan on using it all winter or over multiple seasons, or you can
purchase a thermal ice fishing shelter online for a few hundred dollars. If
you’re feeling really ambitious, you might even build a small igloo out of
most people move locations if they don’t get a bite after a while. Therefore,
it may be best to invest in a movable shelter. Most pop-up abodes have built-in
pockets to store all your gear, making moving incredibly simple. Small,
one-person shanties are equally simple to relocate, if not more so. Regardless
of which shelter you choose, surrounding yourself with four walls and a roof of
some sort will help keep you warm when chilly winter winds blow in.
Surviving on the Ice
fishing is a great winter activity, as long as you’re well prepared. Keep these
safety tips in mind before you drill that hole and wait for the big one.